Activity within the visual cortex can be influenced by the emotional salience of a stimulus, but it is not clear whether such cortical activity is modulated by the affective status of the individual. This study used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine the relationship between affect ratings on the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule and activity within the occipital cortex of 13 normal-weight women while viewing images of high calorie and low calorie foods. Regression analyses revealed that when participants viewed high calorie foods, Positive Affect correlated significantly with activity within the lingual gyrus and calcarine cortex, whereas Negative Affect was unrelated to visual cortex activity. In contrast, during presentations of low calorie foods, affect ratings, regardless of valence, were unrelated to occipital cortex activity. These findings suggest a mechanism whereby positive affective state may affect the early stages of sensory processing, possibly influencing subsequent perceptual experience of a stimulus.
- Visual perception
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